The Prairie Coneflower or Gray-headed Coneflower is a drooping yellow flower with flower rays about 1-2 1/2 inches long. The first time I saw one of these I ignored them because i thought they were wilted or dying Black-Eyed Susans
. Later, upon closer inspection I realized that they weren't a wilted anything but a definite and interesting flower in it's own right.
The large central cone starts out gray (hence the second name) but darkens to dark brown as the flower matures.
The plant itself is 1 1/2 - 5 feet tall with long slender leaves. This member of the Sunflower Family (Asteraceae) blooms from June - September in dry woods and prairies in the inland sections of North America from Southern Canada south to Georgia and west to Oklahoma and Nebraska.